Manual Understanding the City: Contemporary and Future Perspectives (Studies in Urban and Social Change)

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In China during the s, the urban populations consumed more than twice as much pork as the rural populations who were raising the pigs. But even a decade later, urban populations had 60 percent more pork in their diets than rural populations. The increasing consumption of meat is a sign of growing affluence in Beijing; in India where many urban residents are vegetarians, greater prosperity is seen in higher consumption of milk.

Urban populations not only consume more food, but they also consume more durable goods. In the early s, Chinese households in urban areas were two times more likely to have a TV, eight times more likely to have a washing machine, and 25 times more likely to have a refrigerator than rural households. Energy consumption for electricity, transportation, cooking, and heating is much higher in urban areas than in rural villages.

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For example, urban populations have many more cars than rural populations per capita. Almost all of the cars in the world in the s were in the United States. Today we have a car for every two people in the United States. If that became the norm, in there would be 5. In China the per capita consumption of coal in towns and cities is over three times the consumption in rural areas.

Economies, therefore, often become more efficient as they develop because of advances in technology and changes in consumption behavior. And the increased consumption of energy is likely to have deleterious environmental effects. Urban consumption of energy helps create heat islands that can change local weather patterns and weather downwind from the heat islands.

The heat island phenomenon is created because cities radiate heat back into the atmosphere at a rate 15 percent to 30 percent less than rural areas. The combination of the increased energy consumption and difference in albedo radiation means that cities are warmer than rural areas 0. Cloudiness and fog occur with greater frequency. Precipitation is 5 percent to 10 percent higher in cities; thunderstorms and hailstorms are much more frequent, but snow days in cities are less common. Urbanization also affects the broader regional environments.

Regions downwind from large industrial complexes also see increases in the amount of precipitation, air pollution, and the number of days with thunderstorms. Urban areas generally generate more rain, but they reduce the infiltration of water and lower the water tables.

This means that runoff occurs more rapidly with greater peak flows. Flood volumes increase, as do floods and water pollution downstream.


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Many of the effects of urban areas on the environment are not necessarily linear. Bigger urban areas do not always create more environmental problems. And small urban areas can cause large problems. Much of what determines the extent of the environmental impacts is how the urban populations behave — their consumption and living patterns — not just how large they are.

The urban environment is an important factor in determining the quality of life in urban areas and the impact of the urban area on the broader environment. Some urban environmental problems include inadequate water and sanitation, lack of rubbish disposal, and industrial pollution. The health implications of these environmental problems include respiratory infections and other infectious and parasitic diseases. Capital costs for building improved environmental infrastructure — for example, investments in a cleaner public transportation system such as a subway — and for building more hospitals and clinics are higher in cities, where wages exceed those paid in rural areas.

And urban land prices are much higher because of the competition for space. But not all urban areas have the same kinds of environmental conditions or health problems. Some research suggests that indicators of health problems, such as rates of infant mortality, are higher in cities that are growing rapidly than in those where growth is slower. Learning is also crucial for the enhancement of urban governance, insofar as it is associated with the promotion of critical thinking, access to information and participation in collective decision-making processes.

This article discusses how education contributes to inclusive urban development and local collective identities through the responses it provides to three issues — innovation and creativity, citizenship, and cultural diversity — that have become crucial challenges to urban social cohesion.

Education is usually regarded as the broader concept of the two, in that it usually refers to the imparting and acquisition of any kind of knowledge e.

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Both are inextricably bound with the further concept of learning , which reflects an acknowledgement of the inherently active nature of the process whereby knowledge is produced. Depending on the theoretical perspective, learning and knowledge have been regarded either as the product of a one-sided social relation in the context of which the learner seeks to reproduce what is taught by the teacher, or as the result of an interactive relation whereby the learner constructs knowledge with the support of various educational agents teachers, television, books, internet, etc.

This of course promotes the social recognition of certain types of education, learning and knowledge to the detriment of others, and in itself provides clear evidence of the socio-political character of the realities conveyed by these concepts. Indeed, learning and education are important constitutive elements of power relations, insofar as they can serve to advance and reinforce the extant economic, social and cultural structures — including the dominant ideologies.

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At the same time, however, education and learning can also serve as a means to transform power relations through the dissemination and promotion of information, practices and values that do not conform to, and may even contradict or subvert, hegemonic knowledge Bourdieu and Passeron, It is true that, especially from the second half of the 20 th century, success in formal education has functioned as a crucial vehicle for social mobility. However, a holistic understanding of socio-spatial cohesion requires us to acknowledge, and explore more deeply, the fact that education and learning are also decisive in shaping society and its spatial forms in dynamic collective ways.

The majority of the research is characterised by instrumental concerns with the economic consequences of learning and stresses the macro-scale. Just two research projects Critical and Katarsis focus specifically on the urban context, emphasising the social aspects of learning and the role of the local community. It can be argued that the aforementioned relationship is not specific to urban contexts, as it involves both urban and non urban milieux. However, the responses of education towards the challenges to development and cohesion that are specifically explored in this article — innovation and creativity, citizenship, and cultural diversity — assume a particular and intense relevance in urban areas.

This issue, relevant in Classical Athens, in the Ottoman Istanbul or in the Lisbon of the 16 th century Discoveries, continues to be crucial in the contemporary political and academic discourse.

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Sandercock , p. This increase has been particularly pronounced in a number of Eastern and Southern European countries Hungary, Czech Republic, Greece and Portugal , and constitutes a substantial improvement in terms of European territorial cohesion. This general picture of equality of opportunities conceals huge inequalities, mainly affecting those who did or do not have access to schooling, such as the older economically active population in Southern European countries or the immigrant population.

Data from the PISA Database a cross-country profile of year-old students clearly shows the differences in school performance between native students and those with an immigrant background 1 , as well as gender differences that reproduce traditional patterns, such as men performing better in mathematics and science and women displaying better results in humanities.


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  • On the one hand, scientific and technical knowledge evolves very quickly, causing the rapid obsolescence of the contents of the curricula adopted in schools and universities. On the other hand, the labour market particularly its more highly skilled segments requires constant learning and demands skills, such as autonomy and creativity, which traditional educational systems hardly provide. As a consequence, the improvement in the general levels of access to education does not curb social exclusion as effectively as in the past Murie and Musterd, Most of these schools are locked in a vicious circle of disadvantage, the main issue often consisting of controlling and preventing violence, rather than developing innovative learning methods.

    Despite the supposed role of public schooling in compensating for social disadvantages and promoting social mobility, the effect of the family context remains very powerful. As an example, neoliberal orientations favour competition and summative assessment from an early age, to the detriment of critical thinking or teamwork strategies.

    At the university level these orientations are associated with the championing of individual entrepreneurism and the drive to disseminate ideas and approaches imported from a type of management and business administration usually dominated by concepts and grand discourses generated by the most important Anglo-Saxon business schools. By contrast, cooperation and participation are clearly undervalued.

    Behind the dominant logic lies the principle that competitiveness is the main development factor and the key for individual success, unjustifiably ignoring the fact that loss of cohesion undermines the functioning of society, leads to explicit conflict and violence, with youth and young adults as the major protagonists. Cities marked by contrast become a critical terrain for conflict, either in a violent or a constructive sense, the latter taking place when dissension is solved by negotiation, bridging gaps and compromise within a framework where social innovation emerges as a vehicle for social cohesion.

    On the one hand, the discussion has revolved around the possibility of regarding ICT as a set of instruments with potential to reduce inequity e. Authors such as Sutton or Woolgar , actually suggest that the use of ICT in different social contexts is more likely to contribute to the reproducing previously existent inequalities than to curb them.

    The development of social movements in the two capitals is taken as an index of substantive democracy and is shown to be influenced not only by the extent of decentralization but also by other features of the local political context.

    This illustrates the earlier argument that the relation between decentralization and democracy is an empirically variable one rather than a necessary one. Clyde Mitchell European challenges and hungarian responses in regional policy - hajdu,z, horvath,g. Regional Studies 29 Mobilizing the community - local-politics in the era of the global city - fisher,r, kling,j. Housing Studies 10 Research in urban sociology, vol 3, - urban sociology in transition - Hutchinson,R.

    Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews 24 The role of family help in the housing decisions of young-people. Sociological Review 43 Recent debates about flows of help within the family have indicated considerable diversity according to the type of help money, services , and ages and gender of those involved, and have shown that values are only a partial guide to the scale of such flows.

    This paper focuses on a particular occasion for help, young people's housing, and a particular region, South-East England, where one would expect family financial help to be high given the capacity to help of older generations due to higher average incomes and wealth and the affordability problems faced by young people. The amounts involved were less than young people believed their parents could afford. The role of inheritance was also found to be minor. The results from the different studies are explained as due to changes in the housing market, changing values regarding financial help and differences among the samples.

    Intensive re-interviews with three households from very different backgrounds are used to show the different ways in which family help operates. Housing privatization and housing protest in the transition from state socialism - a comparative-study of Budapest and Moscow. The focus of this paper is on housing privatization and housing conflict in moscow and Budapest since In Budapest the Tenants Association has had cooperative relations with the authorities, whereas in Moscow there has been sharp conflict between 'housing partnerships' and authorities.

    These patterns are explained in terms of tenants' motivations, institutional interests and the economic and political environment in the two cities. It is shown that these in turn reflect the different variants of state socialism in Hungary and Russia and the character of the 'transition' in each case. Particular emphasis is placed on the familiarity of the concept of home ownership, the level of personal economic security and the degree of institutional stability as immediate causes of the progress of housing privatization.

    The difference in patterns of housing conflict in the two cities is related to the degree of 'maturity' of democracy with consequences for state responses to protest and on the differentiation of commercial and residential property markets which affects the demands made in the housing privatization process. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate. In: Art and Architecture of Ireland. Was the US subprime crisis the prime mover? In: Fujita, K. London: Sage Publications Ltd, pp.

    It will be argued that this view exaggerates the role of the subprime crisis and of the global interconnections between banks. Instead, it is argued that the banking systems in the US and UK had developed in a fundamentally unstable way and that this was the primary cause of the financial crises in these countries, with the subprime crisis playing at most a contingent contributory role.